The Industrial Heritage of Barbados

Photo in the Public Domain.

The Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum is part of the Tentative list of Barbados in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Industrial Heritage of Barbados represents the impact of the production of sugar and rum on the landscape. The 5 selected areas include residences for the landholders and workers (including slaves), mills, factories. They are testimony of the Barbadian ‘Sugar Revolution’ of the 17th century, when large sugarcane plantations were established for more profit but at great social costs.

Map of The Industrial Heritage of Barbados

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Netherlands - 25-Aug-22 -

Out of the 5 components (St. Nicholas Abbey, Morgan Lewis Windmill, Newton Burial Ground, Codrington College, Mount Gay Historic Distillery), I visited the first 4. In my opinion and experience, this proposal has high chances of getting inscribed on the World Heritage list. 

Barbados was one of the prime British colonies in the Caribbean and has been widely accredited to be the birthplace of rum, a product of the sugar plantations on the island. The sites proposed tell the story of this sugar and rum production in the Caribbean, in my eyes more than sufficiently. 

St. Nicholas Abbey (which was never a place of religion, but rather a plantation), Morgan Lewis Windmill (the biggest and only surviving sugar windmill in the Caribbean) and the Mount Gay historic distillery (the oldest continious rum distillery in the world) are all relatively close to each other, on the north(-east) side of the island.

Entry to St. Nicholas Abbey is 20 USD, but can be upgraded with a tour on the new Heritage Railway to a total of 40 USD. I think this is quite steep, but tourist attractions in Barbados have high entry fees in general.

The Morgan Lewis Windmill was a cool site to visit, especially for a Dutchman. However, the site is quite small as it comprises only the windmill. I did not go in, but the surroundings made it a worthwile visit. 

I did not visit the distillery, as I already has visited the distillery at St. Nicholas Abbey, and seeing as the entry fee to the Mount Gay distillery is very high. I guess I will save this for a second visit to the island. 

The Newton Burial Ground is very remote, located near the more popular town of Oistins (famous for its fish fry). This was the burial ground for slaves of the Newton plantation, and has provided archaeologists with uncomparably rich information on the daily life of slaves in the Caribbean. 

Codrington College, located on the east coast, is also quite remote, but definitely worth the trip. It is the oldest seminary in the Caribbean. The views of the Atlantic and park surrounding the seminary make this visit even better. 

If sites of tequila production can make it to the World Heritage list, so too can the sites related to rum and sugar production. In general, the selection of the sites provides a very good view of the role (slaves in) Barbados played. 

Philipp Peterer

Switzerland - 18-Dec-15 -

The Story of Sugar and Rum is a multiple location THWS. I visited the Saint Nicholas Abbey and the Morgan Lewis Wind Mill and enjoyed my tour. Both sites are easily reached by car. Saint Nicholas Abbey is a manor with attached distillery, partially surrounded by sugar cane fields. The manor has a long history and its interior is splendid. However, the whole complex is not very big. Only one of the 2 floors of the manor was open so I had to be creative to spend more than 10 minutes inside. The distillery is small but nice and still in use. The forest behind the manor is home to some monkeys. I got lucky and saw them. On the down side, entry fee is over the top exaggerated with 20 USD.

The Morgan Lewis Wind Mill is just a few minutes’ drive (there is a nice view spot on the way) from the manor. Seems it was once a museum with entry fee, but when I arrived it seemed rather abandoned. Funny to see a wind mill in the Caribbean, but not that special for a European.

I skipped Mount Gay distillery in Bridgetown due to lack of time. All in all I think this would be a much nicer WHS than Bridgetown, Barbados’ current single WHS. Rum production is not overrepresented on the list so far.

Full Name
The Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum
Cultural Landscape - Relict
2005 Added to Tentative List

The site has 5 locations

The Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum: St. Nicholas Abbey (T)
The Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum: Morgan Lewis (T)
The Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum: Codrington College (T)
The Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum: Newton Burial Grounds (T)
The Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum: Mount Gay Distilleries, St.Lucy (T)
WHS 1997-2023